The Muslim community is going to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, one of the largest religious festivals for the 2nd time in the wake of the deadly coronavirus infection. Since the rate of infection and death is more on the rise than before, this Eid seems not to be devoid of worries and anxieties. After 14 days of severe lockdown to prevent corona infection, the government has now relaxed the lockdown and opened shops and allowed cattle markets for Eid necessities.
The last moment of Eid shopping and cattle trading is going on now. But it is a matter of grief that in shopping malls and cattle markets of different parts of the country nowhere do see the slightest trace of hygiene andthe consequences of which we may have to suffer more.
Corona infection increased at the end of each of the last three Eids. Experts are on the notion that the infection may increase again. However, some exceptional decisions have been taken ahead of this Eid. This year, Eid prayers have been allowed in mosques as well as in open spaces. This measure has been taken so that people can stand freely and perform prayers discarding any crowd. Cuddling, embracing or shaking hands of any kind should be avoided while exchanging Eid greetings. We should not forget to wear masks and to maintain social distancing. The ban on vehicle movement has also been called off for a smooth communication.
As a result, people in buses, launches and trains are returning to the villages to celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones. Hygiene in vehicles is being neglected. People will return to the capital city Dhaka from the day after Eid to resume work. But just two days after Eid, the government again announced a severe lockdown from 6am on July 23 to midnight on August 5, closing public and private offices, shopping malls, public transports, as well as all kinds of industrial factories including garments.
So those who will be from the city to the villages to celebrate Eid, will face obstacles to return to the city. They have to stay in their village houses till the office and factory are opened. Our idea is that Covid-19 situation will worsen and deteriorate if we repeat the job of travelling in improper ways which we experienced in an ambulance, microbus or pickup van instead of bus, launch and train in theprevious Eid festivals. Therefore, everyone should be careful while moving freely amid this Eid.
In our country, there is a tradition of arranging weddings in rural areas on the days just after Eid. Using the Eid holidays to make the wedding program bigger, the incident of arranging matrimonial functions within a day or two days just after Eid is not less in our country. We have observed this kind of picture during the pandemic in the last Eids as well. It is almost impossible to observe hygiene at the gathering of a wedding. Therefore, we hope that the local administration at the field level will be aware of this.
Since animals will be sacrificed on this Eid, more attention should be paid to cleanliness and hygiene. City corporations and municipalities need to be proactive in disposing waste after animal sacrifices. For this reason, city corporations or municipalities may designate open spaces in front of schools and colleges for animal sacrifice.
Another issue that has plagued us for the last few years is leather industry. Buyers and sellers have long complained about not getting a fair price for the leather we get from goats and oxen at the retail level. The syndicate involved in the price of leather, which is considered to be the right of the poor in our society, must be stopped.
In order to resolve this dilapidated state of the leather industry, the concerned authorities have to be alert now. All sorts of initiatives should be taken to conserve raw hide by arranging tannery waste treatment. Although leather is one of the most important financial commodities, the trade in leather products has declined by 22 percent during this pandemic.
A master plan, therefore, should be taken now so that the leather industry is not damaged. In the lockdown after Eid, vehicles carrying leather will have to be allowed to run freely.The habit of visiting relatives at different houses including recreational parks during Eid holidays is a tradition of our past. Since the parks are closed, the number of visits to relatives' houses may increase.
We should also think about not indulging in the corona virus while traveling. Many of the youngsters were seen victimized in bike accidents on the days after Eid. It is not uncommon for people to go missing in the flood waters while visiting the haor areas during the rainy season. Therefore, it is important for the parents to be more aware of the fact that their children cannot go out to watch the beauty of the wetlands violating lockdown.
The highway police will have to be vigilant to prevent any untoward incidents of theft and robbery on the streets as there will be commuters on the streets till the night before Eid. Mobile courts need to be more active to ensure hygiene in vehicles. Let this Eid bring not mourning rather bring happiness as it always did in the past. Patience and obedience to the rules of health can only make this happen. Let us celebrate this Eid by sharing the joys and sorrows of the rich and the poor.
Badrul Huda Sohel is Assistant Professor at Department of English
Ishakha International University